Thursday, April 02, 2009

Small Art

So I thought I'd show the inception and progress of the small art piece I was working on for the much ballyhooed Art Duel. We are to be done with our pieces this evening and I will post the two completed works tomorrow. Then, the public will be allowed to vote on their favorite by leaving comments (either on this blog or on my or Ed's Facebook site.) After a month, we'll tally the votes and see who won!

Here is my color palette. I just love the sheen and elegance of embroidery thread, don't you? The spools all look like sleek jewels to me and I decided I wanted to translate this jewel-like feel of thread to the finished piece. Since it will be a small work, this is possible since a viewer will inevitably be peering closely. Not possible with a large piece. I know I've waxed poetical about small works and their intimacy before (see my entry for 10-31-07), so its a pleasant challenge for me to make something so small.

My idea is to embroider a piece of fabric solidly with that lovely embroidery thread leaving no fabric visible at all when I'm done. It will be all thread! Can't do that with a large format! Here is my fabric and few guidelines sketched in to help keep my embroidered lines straight.

I'm about halfway done. Looking pretty good. The lines are pretty straight--they are not machine straight, but straight enough for me. Too straight and it would look dead and lose the organic vibe. I love the communication between the color bands, especially how each looks different depending on who its neighbor is. Yummy.

Almost done now...

And now I am done. I quilted the fabric with some thin cotton batting (you can see it sticking out along the edges) and a backing fabric and made a thin mini-mini-quilt. You can see the lines of straight quilting stitches interspersed with the satin stitch embroidery bands, The original idea was to make a solid rectangle and then mount it on the 2"x3" canvas, overlapping the edges of the canvas. Glue? Staples? Something like that. But. Wasn't really working. The solidly embroidered fabric + the quilting was too stiff to fold easily over the edges. Trim the fabric exactly to size and mount it? Well, that idea doesn't grab me either...

Ok! I did what I often do when things aren't quite coming together. I chopped the fabric into strips with my rotary cutter and will arrange them on the canvas. Immediately, I see that mounting them on the plain white canvas just will not do--no pop. They have to go on a black background. I have some lovely black linen fabric that has a little bit of a sheen to it--a perfect backdrop for the thread.

Here is my black fabric under my canvas. Again, the idea is to cover the whole canvas and leave no white side edges exposed.

How to attach the black fabric? Why, with staples. After a quick hunt around the house for our large stapler that has the top that will lift up from the base, I placed 4 staples strategically. Here it is. Again, not perfectly flat with tight corners, but thats the down-size of small formats. Minor imperfections loom large. But on my second attempt at stapling the fabric I am satisfied .

The back is actually pretty neat, so that"s OK, too.

Here is the beginning of my initial arrangement. I did trim the strips even thinner to conform with the scale of the canvas. Oooo, I like this a lot. Those strips just glow against that black background, don't they? This is really the fun part. I will not be sewing these strips down; I will glue them. I would not mind the added design element of stitching but the presser foot on the sewing machine would shove the strips around too much from where I would want them.

Can you wait to see the final piece?? And Ed's piece as well? I'll post them tomorrow. Stay tuned!

No comments: